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Iraq's Christian paramilitaries split in IS fight

The small area of Iraq’s Ninevah Plains not occupied by the Islamic State is home to two separate Assyrian Christian paramilitary forces.

In the town of Alqosh, at the northern limit of the Ninevah Plains, uniformed and armed members of the Assyrian Democratic Movement’s (ADM) force once patrolled the streets. The town of around 10,000 Christians sits on the first hills to emerge from the plain, with a single road leading into it.

The ADM is one of Iraq's main Christian political parties, with two deputies in the Council of Representatives in Baghdad and two members in the Kurdistan parliament in Erbil. The party has had armed forces since the 1980s, when it mobilized against Saddam Hussein’s regime in alliance with the Kurds. Currently, the armed forces are thought to number around 2,000 men, most of whom provide security in party offices.

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